January 11, 2007

Top 10 Prospects: 4. Philip Humber

I will be posting on the Mets top 10 prospects through the course of the the next couple of days, so look for them. Over at Baseball America, they take a look at the Mets top 10 prospects:

4.Philip Humber, rhp Born: Dec. 21, 1982; B-T: R-R; Ht: 6-4; Wt: 210
Drafted: Rice, 2004 (1st round); Signed by: Dave Lottsfeldt

Background: The winning pitcher in the championship game of the 2003 College World Series, Humber went third overall in the 2004 draft and signed the following January. His big league deal included a $3 million bonus and $4.2 million guarantee. Tommy John surgery in July 2005 cut his pro debut short, but he was on the field one year later and quickly returned to his previous form.
Strengths: Humber's curveball is one of the best in the minors. Thrown at 74-78 mph, it has tight rotation with a powerful downward action. His fastball sits at 90-94 mph. He also features a developing low-80s changeup with late sink. He throws strikes with all three pitches.

Weaknesses: Humber has a tendency to overthrow, which tires him out and costs him his command. It also hurts his changeup, which loses its effectiveness when it climbs to 86-87 mph. As good as his curveball is, he could do a better job of throwing it for strikes because big league hitters will be less likely to chase it.

The Future: Though his Arizona Fall League stint ended with a sore shoulder, an MRI revealed no damage and Humber is primed for his first full-season workload. Though his stuff is good enough to pitch in the big leagues, Humber will probably be better served with a full season in Triple-A to improve his endurance. He profiles as a No. 2 or 3 starter.

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